Christie calls special Senate election
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey today called a special election to fill the empty US Senate seat of the late Frank R. Lautenberg. At the same time he declined to name an interim Senator today.
Christie punts on Senate
Governor Christie announced the special election today (June 4) at 1:47 p.m. Catalina Camia of USA Today has the key excerpts from Christie’s speech:
The issues facing the Senate are too important and too vital not to have an elected representative…I favor the people selecting who represents them, not me.
Christie further said the weighty matters in the United States Senate were far too important for an interim Senator serving for eighteen months.
New Jersey election law lets a governor call a special election if he wants, whenever he wants. He need not schedule it on the same day as a regular election. And he did not do that in this case.
A special primary for the Senate seat will take place August 13. The special general election will take place October 16, sixty-four days later.
Thus Chris Christie will not have Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, on the ballot on November 5, when he, Christie, is fighting to stay on as governor.
At time of posting, Wikipedia now has a page on the New Jersey special Senate election. That page lists five potential Democratic and nine potential Republican candidates. Besides Mayor Booker, the potential Democratic candidates include:
- Representative Rush D. Holt, Jr. (D-NJ-12)
- Assemblywoman and Speaker of the Assembly Sheila Oliver (D-Essex)
- Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6)
- Senator and President of the Senate Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester)
The nine potential Republican contenders are all members of the “Republican establishment”:
- Assemblyman and Minority Floor Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union)
- State Senator Michael J. Doherty
- Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno
- Senator and Minority Leader Thomas H. Kean Jr. (R-Union)
- Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth). (He faces a strong primary challenge from Team New Jersey champion Leigh-Ann Bellew)
- Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7)
- Geraldo Rivera
- Representative Jon Runyan (R-NJ-3)
- Assemblyman Jay Webber
The Tea Party react
CNAV talked immediately to Nick Purpura, from Team New Jersey, and RoseAnn Salanitri of the New Jersey Tea Party Caucus. Said Salanitri,
If this were happening two thousand years ago, Christie would be standing out in public washing his hands.
Nick Purpura at first said he was at a loss for words. Then he spoke even more harshly of Christie:
He’s a really shrewd politician. He betrayed the Republican Party, of course. He could have put a Republican into the Senate, but he didn’t. Yet notice how he schedules the special election three weeks ahead of the regular general election. He knows Cory Booker will be the one for the Democrats. But this way, Barbara Buono [likely Democratic candidate for governor] can’t ride on Booker’s coattails.
Bader G. Qarmout, who challenged Senator Kyrillos last year in the regular Republican Senate primary, was not available for comment. The Leigh-Ann Bellew campaign was not available either.